TRI-CITIES, March 22, 2016 — The Tri-Cities Chamber of Commerce is cautiously optimistic following the release of the 2016 Federal Budget by Finance Minister Bill Morneau. There are four focus points that the Chamber has identified as important for the Tri-Cities business community.

“There are some great economic investments being made in this budget,” said Michael Hind, Chief Executive Officer of the Chamber. “It’s focus on innovation compliments the work we are doing in the Tri-Cities to grow the technology and start-up sector.” The Chamber sees investments like the $800 million over four years in support of innovation networks and clusters as well as the $1.53 billion for post-secondary education as integral to the growth of the local and national economies.

The Chamber was also optimistic about the federal government’s commitment to provide up to 50% of the funding for infrastructure projects instead of 1/3 under the previous model. The $3.4 billion earmarked for upgrading current infrastructure over the next three years is also welcome news, indicating that the Greater Vancouver region could see $370 million in investment.

On the other hand, the Chamber is disappointed that the Federal government will defer the legislated small business tax decrease from 11% to 9%, holding steady at 10.5% for the foreseeable future. “With nearly 90% of our membership being small business, the continued decrease in the small business tax rate would have been a huge benefit to our members,” says Hind. “But overall, B.C. is still a competitive jurisdiction with an overall small business tax rate of 13 percent.”

While the budget is not projected to be balanced over the next 5 years, the Chamber expects the Federal government to be prudent in managing the debt-to-GDP ratio throughout these deficits. “Ideally, we would have balanced budgets and be paying down our debts, but if our economy is growing and we have the capacity to make investments that have long-term returns, then it is money well-spent,” says Hind.

About the Tri-Cities Chamber of Commerce:

The Tri-Cities Chamber of Commerce is a proactive network of business-minded individuals that are committed to acting as an accessible, visible, supportive and reciprocal resource to our members and the Tri-Cities at large, communicating their collective voice to help shape a prosperous business community.

For further information, please contact:
Michael Hind, CEO
Tri-Cities Chamber of Commerce
T: 604.464.2716

Aaron Robinson, Senior Policy Advisor
Tri-Cities Chamber of Commerce
T: 604.818.9485